Senscot Bulletin 02-07-2004



Dear members and friends,


Mostly life feels haphazard – a random jumble comes at us – to shape it we need to be tough.  But sometimes it’s different – simple – the sense that a benevolent karma is at work – prompting the unconscious – even arranging things.  This happened recently. 

            I enjoy the flat I’ve rented for the past two years – peaceful – good light – but too expensive.  Flats I can afford are wee boxes – or dark basements.  My choice was to accept less – or slide into debt – so now I’m in debt.  Recently two different friends showed me same cottage being refurbished for rent outside Edinburgh.  A remote hamlet with seven houses, an old church and graveyard in beautiful walled garden.  Two big rooms – new kitchen/bathroom – rear courtyard with disused stable – swallows nesting.  It immediately feels right – as soon as I notify interest several coincidences combine – with effortless synchronicity, it’s mine – I move in on Sunday.  It feels like this move was ‘meant’ – some karmic influence.

            On Wednesday in the woods near ‘my’ cottage, I caught a glimpse of some animal – size and movement of a chimpanzee – but a light grey colour.  No one can suggest what it is so ‘phone a friend’ – Janis, who relishes strangeness.  After some thought she asks, ‘Are there any old buildings with gargoyles in the vicinity?’  Tell her there’s an old mausoleum in the woods with several.  ‘That’s it’, she says – ‘There are frequent reported sightings of gargoyles going ‘walkies”.  Any gargoyle looking in my window ends my belief in karmic benevolence.



It is impossible to move between Edinburgh and Glasgow without noticing that Glasgow has more poverty – it’s in your face.  But it was still a shock to read this week that 40% of Glaswegians are still living in poverty.  The publication of ‘A 2001 Census of the UK’ brings another brief bout of political breast beating about what is a national scandal. (  

Ron Ferguson who was a community minister in Easterhouse for eight years wrote a good piece in Thursday’s Herald, ‘What should have been the most radical Labour Government in generations has opted for milder reforms that won’t startle the Bearsden horses’ (  



A few weeks back, the bulletin profiled the work of Aberdeen Foyer in their work with young homeless people in the North East and, in particular, their innovative trading arm – Foyer Enterprise. This work was further recognised  last week with the award of the Ernst and Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year to the Foyer’s Chief Executive, Ken Milroy. The award was made at a Banquet in Glasgow and was the fourth year that social entrepreneurs in Scotland have been recognised. Our congratulations go to Ken and all the staff at Aberdeen Foyer. 



Senscot attended two events this week. On Wednesday, Colin co-ordinated the second of our joint June events with CRT in West Lothian. A range of speakers gave background on available support. Particular interest in a workshop from Sam Baumber (Re-Union) on ‘Pricing your Product’. Sam’s novel way of approaching the topic could well prove very popular. Yesterday it was second meeting of Forth Sector’s SEDI project to develop a social enterprise strategy for Edinburgh & Lothians. Around 25 attended, representing the sector plus local authorities and statutory agencies. Discussions are taking place re: promoting social enterprise at a local level and what role public sector can play. We’ll keep you posted.



Community groups interested in greening their local environment can benefit from the Central Scotland Forest Community Projects Fund – closing date is Friday July 30.



YELLOW PAGES: Space constraints mean we can’t carry every notice you send. But please send in any relevant items (before noon Thursday) to and we’ll post them on our site. This week:


JOBS: 49 vacancies, incl: EVOC, Forth Sector, UKPHA, Powerful Partnerships, Citizens Advice Scotland, The Lennox Partnership, The Action Group, Equality Network, Edinburgh Women’s Aid Ltd.


EVENTS: Live @ The Greens Charity Music Festival, West Lothian, 24 July; 1st UK Earthship Launch Celebration, Kinghorn, Fife, 21 August ; Seminar:  Sustainable Food Procurement In The Public Sector – The Future For Local Food, Stirling, 14 Sept; ‘Walk Your Talk’ event for pioneers of responsible business, Findhorn, 4-7 November.


CAN YOU HELP: young and talented web designer wanted to help establish website of ‘Emerge’, new music and arts social enterprise for young musical talent in the Strathclyde region.


For details on these and more, visit ‘Yellow pages’ at:   



The Forestry Commission Scotland is to consult on a new scheme to allow communities to bid for national forest land. Under the proposed scheme, communities will be able to nominate any piece of Forestry Commission land they are interested in taking over, showing that the purchase will benefit the community, and is in the wider public interest. Currently they have to wait for the commission to declare land surplus to requirements. 



A new report from the Centre for Scottish Public Policy’s Commission on a Sustainable Scotland argues that sustainable development should rocket up the Executive’s agenda and calls for a designated cabinet minister with responsibility for the issue. Claire Brady, Co-operation & Mutuality Scotland’s dynamic new Development Co-ordinator sends us feedback on the report from CMS, which would like to see ‘more opportunities for communities to become involved by gaining a real stake in the development via the ‘community owned renewable energy co-operative’ concept’:



This week the Bulletin profiles Wiston Lodge, a former Victorian hunting lodge now owned and run by the YMCA Scotland.  Wiston Lodge aims to provide physical, mental and spiritual challenges in a safe and sheltered residential environment.  Most of the work at Wiston Lodge consists of running training days and courses in team building and experiential education for children, young people and adults.  Around 70% of bookings come from youth groups, Prince’s Trust Volunteers, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award teams, church youth groups, schools and young people described as ‘at risk’.  Further info’: (project profiles).



A member sent me an amazing speech by an Italian called Ernesto Sirollo who teaches a bottom up, responsive economic development approach using Trained Enterprise Facilitators.

 ‘We teach communities when you employ a facilitator, find somebody who’s been out there, somebody who knows life, somebody who can respond to the passion of the client with compassion for the client.  The word passion comes from the Latin passio, which means to suffer.  When I say I am looking for people who are passionate about their ideas, I mean people who are prepared to suffer for what they want to do.  They are the only people we help.  They have to believe it, if they don’t believe in their ideas, forget it.  When we find people who are passionate, we have to find people who have compassion, who can commit with these people.  I train the facilitators to be the paratroopers of development.  These are people who are trained to be loyal to you, not to the funding agency, not to the government.’  I found Sirolli’s speech thrilling.  (


That’s all for this week.  Good luck with your adventures.

Best wishes,



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